Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe

A good song is often inspired by some painful experience, like a breakup or a death, or even a catastrophic natural event like a flood. So, after hundreds of thousands of people lost everything in the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the blues duo of Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie were well-equipped to use their firsthand observations of the calamity to write and record “When the Levee Breaks.” It became classic decades later, not so much because of their original 1929 version, but thanks to a blues aficionado named Robert Plant. The original recording – with seven verses in a typical A-A-B, 12-bars blues structure, and two verses repeated – didn’t have much of an impact at the time, at least not as much as other material by the duo would. Minnie was already the Mississippi Delta’s premier female artist and was an experienced professional musician, but only McCoy sang on “When the Levee Breaks” while they both played. See for more.

When the Levee Breaks

Can I Do It For You

What’s A Matter With The Mill

That Will Be Alright

Wild About My Stuff (1930)

Pile Driver Blues

I’m Talkin’ About You

Mister Tango Blues

Goin Back To Texas

She Wouldn’t Give Me

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